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As always, we begin our analysis by reviewing the relevant law, N.C.G.S. 20-138.1: “A person commits the offense of Impaired Driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this state: While under

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Drugged Driving – or Drug DWI – is a form of “Impaired Driving,” under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1. This is the same law that the State uses to convict drunk drivers. In other words, the same law governs drunk driving and drugged driving. But, operating under the influence of drugs, and operating under the influence of alcohol, are two very different things.

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Business Card for Attorney Derek R. Fletcher
Serious cases require serious representation.
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North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney • Misdemeanors • Felonies • Impaired Driving (DWI / DUI) • Traffic • Drug Crimes • Driver License Restorations
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FLETCHER LEGAL IS A CHARLOTTE-BASED LAW PRACTICE DEDICATED TO HELPING OUR CLIENTS NAVIGATE BOTH THE JUDICIAL PROCESS, AND LIFE’S MOST DIFFICULT MOMENTS. We constantly push the limits of what’s possible when it comes to integrating technology into solo practice with the goal of reducing client fees and expanding access to law. We believe in treating people the way we want to be treated.

WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, BUT RESULTS AREN’T EVERYTHING. We believe that relationships are key, and we only accept clients that we feel we can have a successful partnership with to reach the best results. We believe that legal emergencies rarely occur during business hours, and that it is essential for clients to have Attorney Fletcher’s personal cell phone number.

WE ACCEPT CLIENTS, NOT CASES, AND WE GO WHERE WE ARE NEEDED, ACROSS ALL 100 NORTH CAROLINA COUNTIES. We stick to what we’re good at, continually pushing the envelope and streamlining process steps. We always set our clients up for the best possible outcome.

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EXPUNGEMENTS ARE CREATED BY STATE STATUTE. Expungements are governed by state law; specifically: Article 5, Chapter 15A of the North Carolina General Statutes. A good way of understanding Expungement law is that, by default, when a person is either charged or convicted of any crime, that record will appear on that person’s criminal background report forever, unless the state allows a person to expunge it. The law must specifically allow a person to expunge something – no right to expunge exists. However, several North Carolina laws create several expunctions under which a “Petitioner” may file.

NEITHER THIS LISTING NOR THIS WEBSITE ATTEMPT TO EXHAUSTIVELY COVER, IN-DEPTH, EACH OF THE EXPUNGEMENT STATUTES CREATED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Around here, we stick to what we’re good at. What that means in this context is rather than doing a half-way job of listing the roughly twenty different types of Expungements created under North Carolina law, we’ve done some research and determined the most frequently filed Expungement types in North Carolina, based off of several years worth of tracking data. Our goal is to be the very best at the types of Expungements listed below – which the vast majority of people need help with – instead of just being vaguely aware of each and every type of Expungement known to North Carolina law. Just because the specific Expungement you may qualify for is not listed below, does not mean it doesn’t exist. Simply call our office, and one of our Expungement Professionals would be happy to discuss other – perhaps more well suited – expungements based on your particular situation.

WE BELIEVE WE CAN DO THE MOST GOOD BY FOCUSING ON THE EXPUNGEMENTS THAT ARE FILED MOST OFTEN, AFTER HAVING STUDIED EXPUNGEMENT PETITIONERS FILED DURING THE PAST DECADE.  In North Carolina, Expungements generally fall into 1 of five categories. Although this discussion could easily spiral out of control into a very thorough and in-depth legal analysis, we’re going to do our best to simplify – yet clarify – these different expungements the best we possibly can. The five types of Expungements this website will help explain include:

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A District Attorney may dismiss (almost) any criminal charge, at any point during the case, for any reason or for no reason at all (referred to as “prosecutorial discretion”). Many reasons may lead to a voluntary dismissal: perhaps the state believes they have a weak case they cannot prove at trial, perhaps they cannot locate the prosecuting witness, or perhaps the person charged is now in compliance with a minor traffic offense. As long as you haven’t been convicted of a felony, you’re usually able to expunge a dismissed charge. We’ve made the process easier than ever; learn more about expunging a Voluntary Dismissal here, or start expunging a Voluntary Dismissal online now.

Voluntary Dismissals are unconditional, and within the prosecutor's discretion.
A Deferred Dismissal is the result of a "deal" made with the State to dismiss the charges if the person accused stays out of trouble, or completes a period of probation.

Deferred Dismissals are not unconditional. Typically, the state “makes a deal” with a first time offender, a person charged with minor drug possession, or an underage drinker. In exchange for a guaranteed future dismissal, the person charged agrees to complete a period of probation, a drug class, or community service. Convicted felons are barred from expunging Deferred Dismissals from their criminal records. We’ve made the process easier, and less expensive, than ever! Learn more about expunging a Deferred Dismissal here, or begin expunging a Deferred Dismissal online now!

Not Guilty Verdicts, whether obtained from a judge hearing and ruling on a case, or obtained from a jury, may be expunged from a person’s criminal record, as long as that person is not a convicted felon. We’ve made the process of expunging a Not Guilty verdict easier, and less expensive, than ever before! Learn more about expunging a North Carolina Not Guilty Verdict here, or begin your online expungement now!

Judge and Jury Not Guilty verdicts are able to be expunged in North Carolina as long as the Petitioner is not a convicted felon.
Nonviolent Misdemeanor Convictions, except DWI's, can usually be expunged under North Carolina law after 5 years.

North Carolina law allows a person to expunge a misdemeanor conviction that occurred at any age – subject to a few exclusions, conditions, and filing requirements. The conviction must be for a nonviolent offense, meaning that assault cannot be an essential element, and the Petitioner must have waited at least 5 years since they completed their sentence before applying. Learn more about expunging a North Carolina Misdemeanor Conviction here.

What used to be a hard “NO” has turned into a resounding “sometimes…?” North Carolina law now allows a person that has been convicted of a single, nonviolent felony to expunge the conviction from their criminal record, as long as they’ve stayed out of trouble with the law since the offense, waited 10 years before filing, and met a few other qualifying conditions. Learn more about expunging a North Carolina Felony Conviction here.

Nonviolent Class H & I felony convictions may be able to be expunged from a person's criminal background under North Carolina law if the conviction constitutes the person's sole criminal record (excluding traffic offenses), and 10 years have passed since successful sentence completion.
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THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM RARELY SHOWS MERCY TOWARDS THOSE CHARGED WITH IMPAIRED DRIVING. Whether you’ve been accused of Drunk Driving, Drugged Driving, Boating While Impaired, Driving after consuming < 21, or even Driving after consuming lawfully prescribed medication, the consequences are all equally serious. The State will attack you with every tool in their arsenal. If you are found guilty, or plead guilty to Impaired Driving, you’re facing serious, and long-lasting consequences, including:

  • Having a permanent criminal record;

  • Professional License Revocation or Suspension;

  • Expensive Fines;

  • House Arrest;

  • Supervised Probation;

  • Unsupervised Probation;

  • Community Service;

  • Jail or Prison Sentence;

  • CAM (Continuous Alcohol Monitoring) Bracelet;

  • Court Costs;

  • Mandatory Substance Abuse Treatment;

  • Ankle Monitor;

  • Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation.

IMPAIRED DRIVING CHARGES ARE EXTREMELY TECHNICAL, PERHAPS MORE SO THAN MURDER. Driving While Impaired [DWI] (also called Driving Under the Influence [DUI], Drugged Driving [Drug DWI] or simply “Impaired Driving”) are perhaps the most technical crimes in the entire State Code. And beating a DWI charge, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with how much you blew, what the cops found in your car, or or whether you were driving on a suspended or valid license. These cases, more so than any other, depend entirely on the most minute of details only a trained professional would possibly recognize.

STALE CASES BECOME HARDER TO DEFEND WITH EVERY PASSING DAY. It’s absolutely critical that you move fast, because over time, your defense becomes increasingly more difficult. Over time, evidence disappears, witnesses move across the country, and video surveillance tapes are deleted to clear hard drive space. As a general rule, the quicker you act, the better odds you have of securing a great outcome.
WE ALWAYS SET OUR CLIENTS UP FOR SUCCESS. Even when it looks like the cards are all stacked against you, we’re frequently able to help our first-time clients obtain Limited Driving Priviliges so that they can drive to school and to work. No matter how bad it looks, with enough time on our side, we’re almost always able to position our clients into the very best of light when they one day appear before a judge. And although every case is factually different, we consistently aim for the best scenario under any given set of facts.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR FUTURE WORTH? Never bargain shop when it comes to your future, your family, or your livelihood! When looking for a DWI attorney, you should have only one hiring criteria on your mind: who can get the job done. And although I would never tell you who to hire or not hire, if you’re able to persuade an attorney to lower his fee for you – who else do you think can persuade that same attorney? How well do you believe they’ll fight for you?


SENTENCING. Once you’re past the guilt or innocence phase, and the judge is about to enter judgment, your lawyer has an opportunity to recommend a particular sentence to the court. A good lawyer can clearly and convincingly articulate to the judge why you acted the way you did, what you have done to repair the damage you caused, and any other factors that mitigate your culpability in the offense. Defense Counsel’s primary duty, at this stage, is to seek (and persuade a judge) to sentence the defendant near the minimum sentence. This isn’t always easy; especially when a District Attorney adamantly demands he be sentenced to the max.
MITIGATING FACTORS. An experienced attorney will learn what remedial actions his client has taken pre-trial, and explain how they should mitigate the sentence. Has the defendant voluntarily entered substance abuse treatment after being charged with a DWI/DUI? If so, Counsel should mention that the client sought treatment voluntarily, whether the treatment was inpatient or outpatient, how long the program lasted, whether the client has a sponsor, how many AA or NA meetings a week they attend, and that they just picked up a 90 day chip.

Experienced lawyers know what facts will mitigate the damage at sentencing, and can be the difference between community service and active jail time.


Although we travel across the entire State of North Carolina – to each and every District and Superior Court – we are based in Charlotte. You could say that our home base consists of the following:

Serving: Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan, Cleveland, Lincoln, Stanly, Davidson, Catawba, and Anson Counties, as well as Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Lake Norman, Mooresville, Troutman, Statesville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Harrisburg, Weddington, Waxhaw, Indian Trail, Monroe, Wadesboro, Wingate, Polkton, Concord, Kannapolis, China Grove, Salisbury, Lexington, Thomasville, High Point, Denver, Lincolnton, Newton, Conover, Hickory, Belmont, Lowell, Mt. Holly, Lowesville, Gastonia, Dallas, Bessemer City, Kings Mountain, Shelby, Pineville, Midland, Locust, Albemarle, Rockingham, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington.


SERIOUS CASES REQUIRE SERIOUS REPRESENTATION. If you or someone you know has questions restoring their firearm rights, or to begin the process of restoring your gun rights now, call FLETCHER LEGAL at 704-747-7262, shoot that number a text, step into our virtual lobby for a video call, or book an appointment now for your free case evaluation. Fletcher Legal has helped clients restore North Carolina firearm rights, appeal from pistol purchase denials, and challenge concealed carry decisions. We conduct independent investigations in every case we take, which reduces denials, and ensures a smooth hearing.
VIRTUAL SERVICES REDUCE CLIENT EXPENSES. Schedule an appointment today to speak with Attorney Fletcher, either by video call, text message, or phone call. We offer flexible payment arrangements, independent investigations, and 24 x 7 emergency services. Book an appointment online now to begin building your defense.
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